Gartner forecasts PC sales rising this year

By Iain Thomson on Nov 24, 2009 2:05 PM
Filed under Mobility

Growth stronger than expected say analysts.

Analyst house Gartner has revised its figures and is now forecasting that PC shipments will rise 2.8 percent in 2009, rather than falling two percent.

Overall the analysts estimate PC shipments will rise to 298.9 million units in 2009, and will rise by over 12 per cent in 2010. The rise has been attributed to a stronger than expected third quarter.

"Shipments in the third quarter of 2009 were much stronger than we expected, and that alone virtually guaranteed we would see positive growth this year," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.

"We're anticipating seasonally modest growth in the fourth quarter of 2009, but because shipments were so weak in the fourth quarter of 2008, growth will appear quite strong. This could lull vendors and market watchers into thinking the market is recovering faster than it really is."

Within the statistics the mobile PC market is looking healthiest. Gartner expects laptop sales to rise 15.4 percent this year and netbook sales will nearly double. However desktop PC shipments will decline nine percent in 2009 and barely rise in 2010.

Although the number of PCs shipped will rise Gartner warns that the market value of PCs will fall by over 10 percent in 2009. The value will only beginning to rise in 2010, and then only by 2.6 percent.

This has been reflected in the latest quarterly results released by HP and Dell, which showed sharp discounting of PCs in the marketplace.

"Blame this year's drop in market value on the unprecedented declines in PC average selling prices (ASPs) we've seen this year," Mr. Shiffler said. "

“The rapid decline in PC ASPs reflects a marked shift towards lower price points as customers have looked for 'good enough' PCs at the cheapest price, and vendors have tried to spur market growth by catering to ever-lower price points.”

Gartner said that the forecast for the coming fourth quarter sales was good, but that it would look better than the reality because last year’s fourth quarter results were so poor.

Contrary to some reports Gartner does not expect Windows 7 to have a great impact on sales.

“We don't see businesses mainstreaming Windows 7 much before the end of 2010,” said Shiffler.

“We think many businesses will try to shift replacements to the back end of next year so as to sync their adoption of Windows 7 with their PC refresh. That will put a damper on early 2010 shipments."

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